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Valentines Day Highs and Lows

Happy Friday! Thank you for tuning in to another exciting and confusing episode of "making sense of everything going on with my grief."


TLDR: Nothing makes sense these days. I am still confused.


To start off the evening, I was blessed to have a close friend share this quote with me on Thursday. If you don't have time to read about grief and what to expect, here's a pretty accurate picture of how most people like me feel, even over 10 months after the person you love so much passes away because of cancer:

Grief is the voice of what is gone. Not only the people we lose, but the dreams unmade, dignity frayed, pictures with emptied frames. You can try to bury that sort of thing. I get it. I've tried it. Seems a lot easier to jettison it, or shove it all into a box and force it shut. But the more you try to bury grief, the more it demands to be heard. The more you deny what the loss meant to you, the more you disappear yourself. The voice of grief makes its way through the seams, bursting at every clasp. The voice of everyone and everything buried runs up your throat, demanding to shout itself into being again. Grief is a story gasping to be told. I'm telling you this because nobody else told me: There Is no such thing as closure. There is no final stitch, no last loop. We do not move on. We move with. - J.S. Park, As Long As You Need

You can stop here if you don't have time to read, that was the most important part of what I wanted to share today. Thanks for tuning in! But if you have nothing else to do on a Friday night like me, please keep reading...


Highs of the Week


I made it through another long week with Valentine's Day in the middle of it. Good news for me...this should be the last of the major holidays until Teri's one year death anniversary on April 2. My week wasn't so bad besides feeling a bit overwhelmed with work.


Lots of people were intentional in reaching out to see how I've been doing. Thank you. Part of why people reached out was because I confused a lot of people with my last post, even with "Rev B" that still wasn't as clear as I was hoping for. JULIE DOES NOT EXIST, IT WAS A FICTITIOUS STORY. I was still encouraged by some of the messages I got, including, are you proposing? and I don't understand what is going on there but it's his blog and he can do whatever he wants. Both comments and several others made me happy because it still shows people are curious enough to read about what's going on with me these days.


Time for Costco


On most Mondays after a long day at work, I tend to want to walk around Costco even if I don't really need anything. This Monday was no exception. I couldn't leave empty handed, so I bought some reasonably priced flowers for Valentine's day, for myself. This bouquet reminded me of Teri because of the unique peach color. I also made some chicken soup from scratch using the bones from a Costco rotisserie chicken. It's basically free soup! What a great idea I should have been doing years ago:


Speaking of flowers, I find it interesting that I've bought more flowers for myself since Teri passed away than I gave to Teri throughout our relationship. I can't explain it. Teri loved flowers and wearing flower dresses, but didn't seem to care too much about me buying her flowers. Or maybe she was just being nice and I was being clueless. I think she found them to be a waste of money. I'm not sure.


Enough about me. Here's a nice photo of Teri with her first bouquet of flowers I gave to her at the airport when I picked her up for her first California visit to see me:

What a great "Things to Do" list....Teri was so blessed to eventually marry me :)


On Valentine's day, a question came up during our weekly staff meeting if all the husbands got presents for their spouses. While there was a lot of laughter and joking around, which is always welcomed after a long meeting, it was a bit awkward for me since I'm now the only one in the group that's not married anymore. I actually didn't think too much about it until one of my colleagues messaged me on MS Teams during the conversation:

Tough conversation right now for you I'm sure. Thinking and praying for you today. These holidays are never easy. Let me know if you need anything bud. 

This is in the "highs" section because the conversation via MS teams continued. We shared a bit more about our faith backgrounds and how my colleague was raised Catholic (like I was), but now goes to a non-denominational Christian church (like I do now). I'm thankful to connect with my colleagues in these ways. It was a needed reminder that work is not all about tracking monthly KPIs, creating presentations, and crossing off all my todos in JIRA. I get to serve people that are all trying to move our mission forward and take care of their families. It is even better that some also pray for me during holidays like these.


Later that day, I attended the Mariner's Church Ash Wednesday Service. What could be a better way to spend Feb 14? It was a much needed message to focus me on what's alot more important than feeling the pain of being single again on Valentine's day. I was most touched during the song, Lord I need You:

Lord, I come, I confess Bowing here I find my rest Without You I fall apart You're the one that guides my heart Lord I need you, hh, I need you Every hour I need you My once defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need you

My time at church reminded me that almost two years ago, March 2, 2022 to be exact. Teri and I went to the 12PM Ash Wednesday service and then celebrated my 38th birthday with our small group:

Mar 2, 2022 - Ash Wednesday Service, Birthday Party with Small Group


When Teri and I came home, we had a discussion about "feelers" (Teri) vs. "thinkers" (me). This was always a hot topic since I always got on Teri's case about how she is so emotional and needs to use more logic/reasoning to make decisions, just like corporate America and MBA school has taught me so well....


Another video of Teri not being so nice (even on my birthday)


Teri is an "INFP" and I always labeled myself as "ISTJ." Teri actually used to be an "ISTJ" and explains why she can be super organized and a planner.


Of course this video is very humbling to watch. I think all this blogging and wanting to talk about my feelings has made me more of an "ISFJ" which I'm totally fine accepting. No more judging emotional people like me. My emotions probably get the best of me even more than they did of Teri. Crazy how things can change.


Another observation, I opted to get the ashes placed on my palm vs. Teri who had it placed on her forehead. At the time I didn't want to walk around the rest of the day confusing my coworkers since I had to go back to the office. Looking back, I wish I did, as there's so much to be proud about when observing Ash Wednesday.


On Thursday, the week got a bit better, as one of my future bosses at church (Phoebe) asked if I was free to get sushi. I was really excited that I didn't eat all day and we were going to Tomikawa, a yummy place to that has all-you-can-eat (AYCE):



It was a nice meal. We ended up not getting AYCE, which was OK since every time I get it, I have huge regrets since I eat way more than I should, and then even more. The best part of the evening was getting some last minute help from her daughter Izzy for E40 graphics. I'm looking forward to getting the name tags all printed on Monday (the best part of going to any conference). Feel free to come over and help with them if you're free.


Besides having some work to do this weekend and not working out too much, I would still say that I had a pretty good week.


The Lows of the Week


Time for the fun stuff you can all judge me on. The real truth about buying flowers, I was hoping that the flowers could be for someone else. Always good to be ready right? The weekend before Valentine's day, I restarted online dating (for the 3rd time if you're counting), thinking that maybe I'd get lucky this time around.


Valentine's Day seemed like a great day to take some shots...


I'm sure people are more open to meeting up because of Valentine's day. Unfortunately, no matches this time around. How is this possible?! Check out my brilliant opening message I came up with so I could stand out amongst the competition:

Hello <cute girl's name>! I'm having a conference for my 40th birthday and would love for you to come. You'd love it since you love plants and one of the exhibitors will show you how to make a plant. Please register here. Happy Valentine's Day! - Erwin (not ChatGPT)

I cut and pasted that message a few times and customized it a bit to a few other people. Then I went to good friday service and it was so obvious during the message that for lent, I should give up social media AND online dating. So that's the plan....I'm off the dating apps again and I promise to all the readers to not talk about online dating or "Julie" until April.


And I just checked the registration status, for some reason none of these people registered. Maybe they're overwhelmed with all the registration options and couldn't decide? Anyways, be sure to put in a good word for me if one of them shows up at the conference and none of us know who they are.


The Meaning of Marriage


Another story to share. Last month, I did go on an official date for the first time since Teri passed away. I did meet her online shortly before I turned off online dating for the second time. We started with a video chat and that went well. Then a few weeks later we met in person over dinner. Her name was NOT Julie. We had healthy sushi. We ended the evening early (~7:15pm) since she seemed really tired and did not get dessert. It was then difficult to get a hold of her, but we stayed in touch via text message. I then got the message I was expecting to receive:

Hi Erwin. It was lovely getting to know you for a little but I don’t think this is going to go anywhere. I don’t want to ghost you or anything so I wanted to let you know how I feel. I wish you the best and hope the dating scene gets easier for you as well.

We had plans on the calendar for a second date that got cancelled. Oh well. I'm thankful to still have received a nice message and not just get ghosted.

There's a real bright side to this. The next morning after the date, I went for a run and felt really optimistic that things were going in the right direction. I felt so motivated that I said that I'm going to officially plan E40 and we are all gonna have a great time. So if it wasn't for the date, there would probably be no E40 on the calendar. Everything always works out for the better.


Anyways, no surprise that Valentine's day got me thinking about marriage again and am I even ready to date. I got another message this week from a close friend that I'm not ready. I couldn't agree more this time around.

“It is possible to feel you are “madly in love” with someone, when it is really just an attraction to someone who can meet your needs and address the insecurities and doubts you have about yourself. In that kind of relationship, you will demand and control rather than serve and give. The only way to avoid sacrificing your partner’s joy and freedom on the altar of your need is to turn to the ultimate lover of your soul. ... “We love—because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

This quote got me thinking again about the purpose of marriage. Like I wrote last week, everything has been about me and my needs. That's not a good thing.


Despite the long week with lots of ups and downs and having another evening to myself, I'm really thankful that I have the capacity to love because He first loved us. I'll continue to take things one day at a time and am excited that I have a three day weekend.


Back to the Highs

I want to end this post on a positive note, at least what makes me happy these days. Mayo is going above and beyond with his cuteness, making up for Teri not being around. First I will throw him under the bus for me not wanting to get out of bed to do my 5AM workouts since he just wants to hang out next to me on the bed and get a bunch of free belly rubs as soon as he hears the alarm clock. He is so spoiled. He's also showing his cuteness by always sitting on the dining table, a behavior I shouldn't encourage but I can't help by smile every time he does it.


My new obsession these days is to make my own "Mayo on the Table" videos using the same song Teri used in her video I posted a few months ago. I've been sending these videos to people all week, so here is one of them for all of you to enjoy, only 46 seconds long:

Anymore by Jeon Somi is my new favorite song


That's all for tonight, hope this post wasn't too confusing. Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!


Erwin

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Thanks for sharing, Erwin. I love the grief quote about moving with, not moving on. I am thankful God used your co-worker to reach out to you to encourage you last week. That’s cool. I am sorry about the email from your friend. That must have been tough to hear. Thank you for sharing your grief. We love you and are here for you, Erwin. I am so thankful you have Mayo to comfort you with his cuteness. Have a great weekend

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OMG, MAYOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Is he gonna be at the conference???😭😭😭 And I 10000% agree with Teri that just because some of us are more feelers than thinkers, it doesn't mean we're incapable of thinking! And I think the opposite is also true: thinkers have feelings, too. God created all of us to both think and feel!

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Yes Mayo is going to be there, he is excited to see you again! He loves all the people who comment on the blog the most :)

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Teri's video and Mayo on the table is so funny. The flowers thing is very interesting. I'm sure Teri is watching from heaven and is impressed that you "stop and smell the roses".

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